What is considered a dental emergency?

A dental emergency can be an emotional – and physically uncomfortable – experience. In this post, our Toddlers To Teens dentists list the facts of what’s considered a dental emergency and explain what to do if one happens to you.

What is a dental emergency?

Any dental issue that necessitates immediate attention from your dentist is considered a dental emergency. Many of us will have a dental emergency at some point in our lives, whether it is due to a sports injury, a chipped tooth, a severe toothache, or something else entirely.

Here are some common dental emergencies – and what you can do if one of these scenarios happens to you.

Severe Toothache

Severe toothaches can come on suddenly or gradually and can result in sharp or throbbing pain. If you have a severe toothache you are unable to manage with over-the-counter pain medication (such as ibuprofen), you’ve got a dental emergency.

Apply ice to your jaw, and go to your dentist’s office as soon as you can.

Object Lodged Between Teeth

Typically, dental floss is the tool of choice for removing objects from between your teeth, but if this does not work, your dentist will have to remove it. If you try to remove it with a sharp object, you risk injuring your gums or pushing it further between your teeth.

Knocked Out Teeth

Your dentist may be able to put your knocked-out tooth back in place if you get to the dentist’s office within an hour.

Try to find your tooth, rinse it with water (no soap or chemicals), and replace it in the socket. Hold it in your cheek or put it in a glass of milk if you can't get it into the socket.

A lost tooth is considered an urgent dental emergency, so get to your dentist’s office right away.

Lost Crowns or Fillings

Because the interior of the tooth is exposed when a crown or filling is lost, the tooth structure may be weakened. It can also be excruciatingly painful and delicate. A missing filling is a dental emergency, and your dentist should replace it as soon as possible.

Broken or Chipped Teeth

In many cases, chipped or broken teeth can be repaired and saved. A filling can usually fix a small fracture, while a crown or root canal can fix more serious ones. If you have a broken or chipped tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have it repaired.

Lacerations to Lip or Tongue

A dental emergency occurs when an injury to the inside of your mouth results in a laceration of your lip or tongue. To stop the bleeding, use a clean cloth. Apply a cold ice pack to any swelling and seek medical attention right away.

Dental emergencies are sometimes recognizable right away, and sometimes not. Do not hesitate to call our office if you have any questions. Our staff can screen you and provide advice on whether your issue is urgent.

Do you think you may have a dental emergency? Contact our Manitoba or Winnipeg dentists right away. We can try to make room in our schedule to see you as soon as possible.